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Summer hedge cutting programme in full swing 28 June 2007

The Department’s hedge-cutting team will be back out in full force soon as the summer programme picks up again after the TT and Parish Walk.

An intensive six-week programme saw hedges cut for safety purposes on those roads involved with both events, but now the team’s focus turns to hedges on other Island roads.

Network Operations Engineer Bill Corlett said:

‘The cutting is always carried out in the interest of public safety. When the roadside vegetation gets too long and thick, it can narrow a road quite significantly. Where the road is only single lane in width, the vegetation can cause real danger to all road users.
‘There is nowhere for pedestrians to get out of the way, and drivers cannot see through bends to see if there are other vehicles, horses, bicycles or walkers in the road ahead.
‘On the main roads, this is not such an issue, but the vegetation can narrow down the pavement, forcing walkers on to the road. At junctions, vegetation can obscure the visibility of drivers coming out of side roads to the extent that they are well out into the road before they can see or be seen.

Mr Corlett added:

‘Strictly speaking, the roadside hedges are the responsibility of the adjacent land owners. However, it is felt that for road safety reasons the DoT should take responsibility for cutting any vegetation which affects the roads and pavements. The tops of hedges are not normally cut by the DoT, as they don’t affect the road. This would really be cutting for amenity reasons, to make the place look nice, but our responsibility has to be limited to ensuring road safety.’

The DoT also has a responsibility towards wildlife and has consulted with various parties, including The Manx Wildlife Trust, the Manx National Farmers Union, Manx National Heritage, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Isle of Man Friends of the Earth and the Society for the Protection of the Manx Countryside.

The consultation led to a document – ‘Guidelines on Hedge & Verge Cutting’ – being drawn up. This states: ‘In any calendar year, general cutting may be carried out during January, February, March, August, September, October, November and December. Restricted cutting is permitted during April, May, June, July, and August. For the general public, this will mean that general cutting will finish on March 31st and start again on August 1st. This leaves a Wildlife Window for breeding and seeding from April 1st to July 31st inclusive. There will be cutting carried out during the Wildlife Window on specified routes for road safety reasons.’

The DoT, with the Manx Wildlife Trust, has designated certain verges as ‘conservation (or sensitive) verges’. These verges are maintained by the Manx Wildlife Trust on behalf of the DoT.

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